How to Survive Working and Living With Someone 24/7
Working and living with someone 24/7 is hard!
Disclaimer: We are all learning.
You are no doubt spending a lot more time together than you usually do, which is intense. It can be particularly testing if there are only two of you. It is tough but there’s no need to panic, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed!
We have spoken to our work friends, home friends and family to collate the best tips for not killing each other in isolation. Enjoy!
Whatever you’re feeling, start the morning with a big smile 🙂 and offer of a cup of tea or coffee – you will inevitably get a good reaction, and that makes you feel better too.
Together, create some daily rituals that you both look forward to e.g. start every morning with coffee in the garden, or cook something for breakfast that you wouldn’t usually have time for on a weekday (waffles, pancakes, bacon sarnies). You’ve got no commute, so why not?!
Gratitude Over Grumbling
Once a day, list three reasons you’re grateful for your partner, rather than dwelling on all the things that have pissed you off! e.g. Today s/he made me laugh till I cried / let me win at Scrabble / and was really helpful when my computer crashed!
To Space Invaders
People have certain routines and habits around their workspace so do recognise each other’s. This might take a bit of trial and error, so think of a few options in case one of them doesn’t work. Figure out an area for you to work in – like working opposite sides of the room, or in separate rooms if you can.
If you finish your workday before your other half, try not to distract them! Leave the room, go and read your book, put your headphones in and watch something on your laptop or get dinner on.
Noise & Natter
Come to an agreement early on – will you have the radio on/listen to music or do you work in silence?
Is there somewhere else phone calls could be taken? This could even be in your bedroom or outside. I have my headphones on pretty much all day, so we can still work in the same room and take phone calls if we need to.
Headphones can also be a good option to keep you focussed, there are some great playlists to listen to whilst working, but it also stops you chatting to each other all the time so you can both actually get some work done.
Throughout the day make them a tea, take them a snack, smile at them, hug them etc. This works particularly well if you can tell they’re feeling a little stressed, you don’t need to say anything, just do something nice.
Meet for Lunch
If you can co-ordinate your days, why not have a lunch break together or maybe go for a stroll to break up the day.
Set a Stop
It’s very important to set boundaries of when to shut your laptop and enjoy the evening. If you can pack up your work or leave your ‘work room’ at the end of the day, you’ll both have the chance to switch off.
Communicate Beyond the House
Extend your communication network beyond the household, chat to friends, colleagues etc. Use Skype, FaceTime, quizzes etc. to entertain yourself and friends.
Be Alone Not Lonely
Do some things alone. Embrace this quiet time and do an activity like reading, painting etc. You might find it also gives you something different to talk about later!
Try Some New Things
Why not? Think about things your isolation buddy does, could you try it out and do it together? You suddenly have a lot of spare time on your hands so you can’t be as picky anymore but there’s plenty of things to try.
DIY restaurant kit – some restaurants are doing at home kits to create their recipes; this is a great way to support businesses who can’t fully operate.
Patty & Bun – make your own burgers at home (they deliver everything you need to recreate
their classic burgers)
Doughnut Time – decorate your own doughnuts
Le Swine (who make the best bacon butty in London) is also delivering a make-at-home kit, which is next on our list.
Joint workout classes – writing them for each other or doing it side-by-side (that’s a laugh!) Boxing is a great workout to do with a partner (you might need to get some kit online)
Try out writing music, puzzles, board games, baking or other recipes etc.
Step away from tech. Even if that’s just sitting at the dinner table and having a chat, make sure you spend some time properly engaging with each other. If you feel like you’re dating Huw Edwards with a constant stream of news, have a gentle chat with your other half. Limit the amount of news you watch, particularly together, so that time stays positive and happy.
Re-think old patterns of chores and household responsibilities. If one person is still working at home and the other is furloughed, the one who is working all day might get pretty upset if they have to clock out and then make dinner for someone who has been watching Netflix all day. Talk things through, see what each other is comfortable with and be open to changing things around.
Perhaps split some up or rotate them to avoid getting too bored of jobs. If you like the same jobs this will avoid arguments of how many times you ‘haven’t been able to do your favourite job of emptying the bins’ (said no one ever) or the annoying ‘you’re doing it wrong.’
Give them their chance to cook if they want to (it’s ok, it will be your day tomorrow). We all have different ideas of what makes a great spag bol but just let them do it their way, occasionally. This can be really hard but do try to give them their licence to create, it might be the start of something great!
Let it Go
Be forgiving of partner’s foibles (of which there may be many!)…
To reduce stress for you and for your isolation buddy, question if something is worth being brought up or better left unsaid. Being in such close proximity, you’re bound to feel the friction or think you would do something a different way, but sometimes it’s best just to let it go, keep the peace and move on.
If you do find yourself annoyed, remove yourself from the situation (as far away as is possible). This might be the perfect time to get your one piece of movement in for the day.